Gaspar overcomes handicap issues

The Wednesday Night Running Club’s annual handicap championship has another new champ, which indicates that it is truly open to runners of all abilities.

Marco Gaspar is the fifth winner in as many years, succeeding last year’s champ Evelyn Ritch.

Introduced by Wednesday Night Running Club founder Tony Watts to give ordinary runners like him not in the elite class a chance to shine, the handicap series was contested over three Wednesdays, a fortnight apart.

Overall contested in good spirit, nevertheless some deliberately only competed in two of the races, hoping it would give them the edge.

It started and finished from outside the old World Gym on Lawrence Boulevard over a 5km distance.

The club meets outside the new World Gym site behind Fidel Murphy’s, every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. to run 5km. There is no charge and many purchase a cool orange club vest.

Justine Plenkiewicz assessed everyone’s times and abilities for the handicap series and set each runner off accordingly.

It lead to the customary tight finish on the third evening with relative newcomer Gaspar triumphing.

Second place went to Kevin Hunter and third to Leslie-Ann Daley. Gaspar was presented with the Jim Kelly Trophy by Ritch at an awards function at Sunset House two weeks ago.

Gaspar first attended the run club at last year’s event and has been a regular ever since.

“Although originally from Brazil, near Santos, the home of the great Pele, he is convinced that England will win the 2014 World Cup, having been robbed on many previous occasions,” joked Watts, an Englishman desperate for England to do well at next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Daley finished in 15th, eighth and first places in the three handicap events whilst Hunter was 11th, fourth and fourth again. However, their combined two best scores of nine and eight respectively were not enough to overhaul Gaspar who had two top three finishes.

Watts, an occasional triathlete, added: “The presentation and knees up at Sunset House was well attended and saw many fine athletes taking the opportunity of indulging in some quality carbs and protein, in preparation for their last long training runs ahead of the Cayman Islands Marathon on Dec. 1.”

Introduced by Wednesday Night Running Club founder Tony Watts to give ordinary runners like him not in the elite class a chance to shine, the handicap series was contested over three Wednesdays, a fortnight apart.

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